Tag Archives: Leeroy Sheftall

Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Original Shero: Professor Mildred Barnert

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At first, Professor Barnert’s protest was tame. Florida Junior College had fired her, but wouldn’t say why. Faculty had no tenure, no union. After Barnert’s “sleep-in” made the front page of The Jacksonville Journal, male administrators rated her looks and belittled her. Though she loved her students, she didn’t need the job. She protested “on principle” and won rights for those who followed.


Black Masonic Temple

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What these walls have seen! Architects Mark and Sheftall began their own firm in 1912 and with a commission for the grandest building in black Jacksonville. The Black Masonic Temple formed the brick foundation of the black community.

Princess Laura Adorkor Kofi preached her “back to Africa” message here in the 1920s. Future Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Leander Shaw had his offices here in the 1960s. And the tunnels beneath Broad Street would offer protection if Florida’s massacres of black communities at Ocoee, Perry, and Rosewood should spread to Jacksonville.